Things are heating up in the Nebraska midterm elections between two men who aren't even running against each other.
It all started with an Omaha World Herald investigation into the actions of State Auditor Charlie Janssen, who admitted last week to drinking on the job during long lunches. That prompted the Nebraska Democratic Party to call for Janssen's resignation in a public statement:
“Nebraska voters did not send ‘Chugging Charlie’ to Lincoln and pay him $85,000 a year to sit around with his buddies drinking beer in a sports bar,” Kleeb said. “He should remove his name from the ballot.”
The World-Herald’s three-month investigation found that in the past month alone, over the course of 20 working days, Janssen was observed 10 times spending beer-drinking “lunches” -- some more than three hours long -- at Brewsky’s, a popular sports bar about 15 blocks south of the State Capitol.
Kleeb noted that the auditor has a watchdog role and is charged with rooting out government mismanagement, waste and misconduct.
“The state auditor is supposed to make sure taxpayers’ money is not being wasted,” Kleeb said. “I guess the auditor needs an auditor.”
When confronted by the newspaper about his drinking escapades, Janssen said, “It’s unfortunate that you’re focusing on that.”
In response to the Democrats calls for Janssen to step down from running, the Republicans hit back with a claim of their own. The Nebraska GOP released a series of videos in which they claim gubernatorial candidate Bob Krist is seen drinking on the job and driving after drinking.
"Auditor Charlie Janssen has acknowledged his mistakes, as reported in the Omaha World-Herald, and is making changes to better serve the people of Nebraska. We must hold all public officials to the same high standards of conduct, regardless of party affiliation, and allow Nebraska voters to be the judge.
At the beginning of the 2018 legislative session, it was brought to the attention of the Nebraska Republican Party that Sen. Bob Krist made frequent trips to Billy's Restaurant during the Legislature's work day. Sen. Krist was observed on numerous occasions drinking large quantities of tequila at Billy's during business hours, in one case even stepping behind the bar to pour himself another drink. Sen. Krist was also filmed getting into his car carrying and sipping from a to-go drink, and then driving away after he had been observed drinking tequila for hours.
Sen. Krist's habit of heavy drinking is an open secret in the Capitol, so much so that Krist acquired the nickname, 'Tequila Bob.' In fact, his drinking has been openly referenced on the floor of the Legislature by colleagues. The following is a quote from Sen. Burke Harr:
'In 19, 20 years when I'm long-gone on a beach with Senator Schumacher and others drinking tequila, probably Senator Krist if we're drinking tequila...'
Nebraska voters deserve to know the facts surrounding Sen. Krist's drinking habits. Sen. Krist should, as Auditor Janssen has, accept responsibility and change his behavior."
Two of the videos can be seen below.